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Truro business illustrates frustration at BT broadband wait

Wednesday, August 19th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A business has come up with an innovative way to attract attention to its wait for superfast broadband – designing its own infographic documenting its problems.

Truro-based marketing agency MPAD created the infographic based on a timeline of all the contact they have had with BT over the past two months.

The company placed its order for superfast broadband on 11 June after waiting five years for fibre to become available in the area.

But despite it being installed, two months later it is still not connected.

Creative director Mark Picken (pictured) told Cable.co.uk that BT were originally incredibly helpful, processing the order and installing a new line within four weeks.

But he said it has still not been connected by today, and his office manager had become increasingly frustrated while trying to find out what was going on.

The infographic not only documents the various emails and phone calls between MPAD and BT trying to resolve the situation, but also shows office manager Julie Dearden’s growing frustration at the saga.

Mr Picken said the agency, which has been running for 16 years in total and moved to its office in Truro seven years ago, had been coping with 20Mbps download speeds and “minimal” upload speeds of 1-2Mbps.

But it is becoming increasingly hard to deal with, given the amount of video content they use now, he said.

“We do a lot of design work, we deal with big files, photography, images, we do a lot of video work.

“Sometimes it’s quicker for Nigel, our senior content guy, to cycle home to the other side of Truro to use his own superfast broadband then cycle back than to use our system.”

He said despite Cornwall receiving European funding over the last 10 years, there was more of a focus on the rural areas.

“But it’s meant that central Truro, which is the commercial capital, has only just got superfast.

“We’ve been waiting for about five years to be in a position where we can get superfast.”

He said initially BT were very helpful, offering to install a new line free of charge and completing the process within four weeks.

'Like you're a child'

But since then, the service has stalled and MPAD has struggled to get any updates or find out what is causing the problem.

Their originally helpful BT Business contact is also now not answering the phone, said Mr Picken.

MPAD was also sent two incorrect bills for £152.49 installation fees, which BT had previously said would be free, he said.

“I guess it’s almost like you’re a child who has been told you’re going to get some something to do with Star Wars when and you end up getting something like Blake's 7.

“Our understanding was that once we had placed the order by now we would have it and be up and running and everyone was quite excited by it and it would help us massively in terms of efficiencies.”

He said Julie had kept a “meticulous” timeline of all her contact with BT.

“We were going to just tweet the timeline but it was one of those things that we have a design team so we can make an infographic, and we thought we’d do it.

“We thought we would get a bit of interest, these larger companies tend to respond quicker to somebody tweeting or sending a message on Facebook.”

Cable.co.uk contacted BT but had not received a statement on the issue by the time of publication. Mr Picken said since he had spoken to Cable.co.uk, BT had been in touch with MPAD and is working to resolve the problem.

UPDATE: After publication of the story, BT apologised for the problems.

A spokesman said: "MPAD placed an order for a phone line and superfast broadband on 19 June. The line was provided on 6 July, but the order for fibre broadband was delayed primarily because of a mistake during the ordering process. There have also been some technical issues over whether the service could be provided for this customer’s premises.

"Our engineers are re-routing the customer’s line so that service can be provided as soon as possible. The customer’s existing broadband service has continued working normally throughout this period.

"A member of our BT Business team is in regular contact with the customer and keeping them updated and we are not aware of any BT person refusing to take the company’s calls. Of course, there can be occasions when an adviser is busy and they need to call the customer back.

"This is an unusual case. High-speed fibre broadband is very widely available in urban and rural areas across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. In fact, 95% of households and businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly now have access to fibre broadband, including more than 14,000 premises in the Truro exchange area. These are world class coverage figures for a relatively rural area, such as Cornwall. Tens of thousands of households and businesses have already taken up the service and the number is continuing to grow rapidly."

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